Corrective Actions and ECOs - If an ECO addresses the issue, why do we do CARs ?

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#1
Today I had a very well-intentioned coworker, who currently is the engineering whipping girl, ask why a CAR (Corrective Action Request) and an ECO (Engineering Change Order) should run in tandem, if the ECO addresses the issue adaquately.

My answer was that the standards that our customers require us to be certifed to require us to demonstrate an effective CAR system.

We just took our CAR system from an ineffective paper system to an online system which I will be the primary spur for. We are not turning on the escalations option since our top guy prefers not to be bothered by the details of how the corn goes through the goose.

Since so much about our organization is professionally dysfunctional, I was hoping to find a much more glib and professional answer I could give her by the time we hold our next meeting. If any of you can help out I'd be grateful.

Thanks
Norman
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
Hey Norman:

Well, its seems like she might have a good question, but it really depends on the nature of what the subject of the CAR/ECO was. Sure, if there was a corrective action, an ECO might be one of the things done as part of the CAR.

However, it might also be that the issue could be corrected by issuing an ECO, but your system might be too restrictive and require a CAR.....

We probably need more details to help out..
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#3
Today I had a very well-intentioned coworker, who currently is the engineering whipping girl, ask why a CAR (Corrective Action Request) and an ECO (Engineering Change Order) should run in tandem, if the ECO addresses the issue adequately.
Does your ECO process have a delinquency tracking mechanism? Most ECO systems that I have assessed don't. Most CAR systems have a tracking mechanism, so you keep tabs on the timeliness of the implementation. Further, many ECOs will impact work in progress, inventory, suppliers, etc... Does your ECO cover those basis? And remember, ECOs are normally "managed" in the little feud of Engineering. Those people have to pay respect to the Quality gods. And, finally, sometimes the ECO is not the applicable corrective action. So the CAR might track the problem and force another CA, other than the ECO proposed.
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#4
Both our CARs and ECOs are run out of the same electronic system, Omnify.

We run the system in a dumbed-down mode with the escalations
( delinquency tracking system) turned off, because our top guy doesn't wish to be bothered by such things as automatic emails notifying him of work that engineers can't be bothered to get around to on schedule.

Our ECOs do address material dispositons for work in progress, inventory, suppliers, etc.

The use of the system for CARs has only just begun, and I confess that I have run some CARs in tandem with ECOs simply because the CAR system gives me a window into the caseload, whereas I don't wish to be forced to review all the open ECOs to find the issues I need to spur.

I also need to be able to demonstrate an effective CAR system to my auditor, and this is my latest attempt at that.
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#5
Today I had a very well-intentioned coworker, who currently is the engineering whipping girl, ask why a CAR (Corrective Action Request) and an ECO (Engineering Change Order) should run in tandem, if the ECO addresses the issue adaquately.

My answer was that the standards that our customers require us to be certifed to require us to demonstrate an effective CAR system.

We just took our CAR system from an ineffective paper system to an online system which I will be the primary spur for. We are not turning on the escalations option since our top guy prefers not to be bothered by the details of how the corn goes through the goose.

Since so much about our organization is professionally dysfunctional, I was hoping to find a much more glib and professional answer I could give her by the time we hold our next meeting. If any of you can help out I'd be grateful.

Thanks
Norman

I agree with Andy's answer. But in addition - CAR's address root causes of failures. ECO's address product and process changes. The CAR action may be to initiate an ECO, or may lead to other solutions, or both. They are similar, not equivalent.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#6
Good answers from Andy, Sidney and Helmut, as usual, but I'd like to add that the CAR process has the additional value of providing a record of the whole process that led to the ECO. I've seen far too many ECOs that didn't provide enough information as to rationale, and were fairly useless in terms of being able to figure out why the change was made. If you use your CAR system, you should have a comprehensive record of the events that culminate in the changes being made. Such records can be very useful in troubleshooting similar problems in the future.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#7
The short answer is that the CAR system allows us to track and study nonconformances and their associated actions, including the ones that need engineering changes.

Meanwhile, engineering changes are just that; they might or might not be results of CARs.

That said, if the systems run in tandem, that could be useful. Suppose it was noted that over time an uptick in proactive ECOs corresponded with fewer CARs for one group or a set of groups. Tracking and analyzing those figures in tandem could give a clue if a more proactive approach meant the group was using less time responding to CARs, generally a positive idea because the time dealing with CARs could be better spent on strategic things. If the indicators in fact represent cause-and-effect then the organization would arguably be improving and becoming more functional, the optimal goal of a good QMS. :2cents:
 
C

curryassassin

#8
My understanding is that the raising of an ECO could be the action described in the CAR, or, more appropriately, 'implement the change via an ECO', if this is identified from the root cause analysis. Then the ECO should describe what is being changed, why it is being changed (justification) and what effect / impact the change has on other parts of the QMS.
Cheers.
 
P

Pazuzu - 2009

#9
My answer was that the standards that our customers require us to be certifed to require us to demonstrate an effective CAR system.

Thanks
Norman
I'm hoping that you're certified to those standards because your company wants to benefit from their value...not just because your customers require you to have certification. :cfingers:
 
M

madannc

#10
The ECO is only implementing the solution, an ECO implements controlled change period. The CA process requires investigation, root cause, severity, effectiveness/verification and is trended as part of a management review (looking for systemic/global issues etc).

This is why I believe that you have the CAR in addition to the ECO
 
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